Friday, June 24, 2011

A Pride Twice Over

Pride is something that a lot of people claim to have about our country, and they claim to have it quite often. They're proud when the local football team goes on a winning streak. They are proud when they hear stories on American Idol about some small town nobody making it big. They're proud when they can buy an entire "meal" for $3.50. People are "proud" to be an American for a myriad of differing and sometimes strangely diverse reasons.

Sometimes people look at me rather oddly, because I do not claim as much nationalism as my fellow Americans. It's nothing personal against the Stars & Stripes; I've just never been a big 'Go Team Go' school spirit kind of guy. I was the guy who went to the pep rally at school because he was forced to, and spent the entire time reading 60s beatnik style poetry in the back of the bleachers. Not to say I've not been proud of my country or my fellow compatriots many times over my short life, but let's just say that collectively being proud of the entire populace - or even a good chunk of it - is a rare thing for me.

Today I am proud of my country.


Episode 54 was supposed to come out today, but there was just a bit of news I was hoping would wrap up today before I recorded the news segment: the New York marriage equality bill. Late at night on the 24th, it did. In an unbelievably close vote (33 to 29), the State Senate passed a bill that would recognize full and equal rights for gay and lesbian Americans to get married.

The decisive vote was provided by Sen. Stephen M. Saland, a republican from Poughkeepsie, who had voted against a gay marriage bill in 2009 and remained publicly undecided in the days leading up to the vote.

That's what I kept hearing about all week. People that had never voted for gay rights before, or folks who were typically seen as staunchly conservative, were voting for gay rights. One notable Republican who had a change of heart from his previously unrelenting stance against same-sex marraige was Roy McDonald, a Republican Senator from Saratoga.

"You get to the point where you evolve in your life where everything isn't black and white, good and bad and you try to do the right thing," McDonald, 64, told reporters. "You might not like that. You might be very cynical about that. Well, f--- it, I don't care what you think. I'm trying to do the right thing. I'm tired of Republican-Democrat politics. They can take the job and shove it. I come from a blue-collar background. I'm trying to do the right thing and that's where I'm going with this."

Brave words.

So, yes, right now I am exceptionally proud to be an American and finally seeing my country evolve.


In additionally prideful news: President Obama announced this week that a little over 30,000 troops will be immediately pulled from Afghanistan and brought home! Afghan forces will take control of keeping their own country safe, and our men and women in uniform can come back to their lives and families. Supposedly, by 2014, we will be completely withdrawn from the area, with 1/3 of troops being withdrawn every year.

This is phenomenal, as for the first time a majority of Americans were shown by the PEW forum to want the troops to come home.

BARACK OBAMA: "Keep in mind we're talking about ten thousand troops by the end of this year, an additional twenty-three thousand by the end of next summer. And we'll still have sixty-eight thousand US troops there, in addition to all the coalition partner troops. So there is still going to be a substantial presence. But what it does signal is, is that Afghans are slowly taking more and more responsibility."

Congratulations, America!

We should celebrate these leaps in ideology, in thought, and in action. We should celebrate our human connection and our sameness at times like these. Come together and glorify the fact that we are doing something positive for the whole of our populace. 

I hope you share in my feeling of pride.

Love and Lyte,

Fire Lyte

4 comments:

  1. WOW. Yes, some progress finally in this country. I have never been one to shake a pom-pom to the good 'ole merican way either. Like you, I'm not anti-america and I believe in the spirit of what this country is "supposed" to be. But, most times we are so removed from that spirit it just gets old. Today, however, as you point out, we are not. It is a good day.

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  2. YIPPEEEEEE!!! **screams**

    I'm a Canadian, and our patriotism is quieter, less in-your-face. We only really dig it out and show it off on Canada Day (July 1st--Canada's birthday) and to a certain extent on Remembrance Day (November 11th--kind of like Memorial Day). I'm fairly patriotic, though I'm not exactly proud to be a Canuck right now, due to who we have for a prime minister (Stephen Harper, who's basically our Dubya). I'm proud of where we've been in the past, and what we've accomplished (BTW, gay marriage has been legal nationwide since 2005--yippeeee!!! We still have our homophobes, but hey--if two guys or two gals want to get hitched, they can do so if they want to, so DEAL WITH IT!), but right now it kinda sucks to be a political lefty/environmentalist/artist, etc (don't get me started on this year's budget).

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  3. Awesome! That falls right in line with the gay pride parade and celebration on the opposite side of the country today (and tomorrow) in San Francisco. -- I was going to go but I have a wedding to go to today and work tomorrow.

    Now if we could just repeal Prop 8 here in California...

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  4. Yes finally things are done right in the way of still thinking of human beings and not just subjects. I had to rant about the gay marriage on my blog because I am an NYC resident and I am proud to say the decision was made. Finally we are acting on one of the principles of the constitution: the freedom of the people. And for the troops, hopefully this war will be over unless the bigotry continues

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